TOMSK, November 26. /TASS/. The Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian Branch in 2020 will use a research aircraft for studies of the Russian Arctic zone’s climate. Researchers will take measures of methane emissions above the Arctic shelf, the Institute’s Director Igor Ptashnik said.
"We plan to use a plane above the Arctic next year. … methane emissions develop from under the shelf, and they are growing," he said. "Mathematics models show that the biggest emissions of methane should be near the equator, but we see them in our Arctic."
According to the Institute’s expert Mikhail Panchenko, Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science’s grant for the two-year studies is 80 million rubles ($1.25 million).
"We have made flights in the Arctic, but they were financed by Norway and France, and in 2014 France stopped the financing, thus in terms of money the Arctic became far away for us," he said.
During the studies, scientists will take measures of greenhouse gases’ emissions, which develop from thawing permafrost on the Arctic shelf, and will analyze the atmosphere’s air - this could be done in the air only, he added.
"Any information about the Arctic is top valuable, and from (sea) vessels you cannot do much - all studies are just occasional, very expensive and besides they are ‘at the foot-level’," he said. "As for the heights, where all pollutions are, we do not have information, while it is most important to have true data to model (climate changes), and the data should be regular."
How the grant will be used
Press service of the Tomsk scientific center (the Russian Academy of Scientists’ Siberian Branch) told TASS the money would be used to pay for fuel and equipment for Russia’s only research plane. The Optic laboratory is organized onboard a Tupolev Tu-134. The laboratory will be equipped with a laser locator to measure methane’s vertical profiles and another locator to probe the ocean’s upper layers (to compare processes in the ocean’s upper layers and in the atmosphere), with new equipment to measure soot, and also the GLONASS navigation system.
The expedition will begin in summer 2020, when the water is "open." Scientists will study gas exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean. The route of 25km will be above five seas - the Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi.